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A safety-net fund for people hit by floods, fire, domestic violence or a shortage of food or money is to be axed if George Osborne has his way.

Local welfare assistance provision – a Coalition policy designed to provide help to tens of thousands of people on low incomes who are pitched into sudden difficulty – currently takes just £180 million from the national budget. This is a tiny amount compared with – for example – the £1.5 billion spent on Michael Gove’s ‘Free Schools’ vanity project.

It seems a plan has been put forward to keep the fund, at a lower level of just £70 million.

But The Guardian has reported that “Osborne had fought against a ‘tiny sliver’ of money going to some of the most vulnerable”.

Campaigning site 38 Degrees has launched an emergency petition for British people to tell Osborne this is a cut too far.

Spokesman David Babbs wrote to members: “Without this crucial safety net stricken families would be left penniless and without food. He could announce the cut later today – let’s try to stop him.

“As a proportion of government spending, the sums of money involved are pretty small. But this is about the kind of Britain we want to live in. Can it really be right to scrap emergency support for people hit by crisis? Do we really want to leave people in hardship to suffer? To rely on food banks? Or even worse, loan sharks?

“Osborne’s latest plan is a cut too far – even other government ministers are coming out against it. The Guardian is reporting that other ministers are feeling the pressure over ‘the unpopularity of welfare cuts and the rising use of food banks’. A huge public outcry, just as MPs are getting ready to go home for Christmas, could split the government further – and force Osborne to back down.

“If George Osborne manages to scrap this fund, people could be left with nowhere to turn.”

The petition is at https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/osborne-christmas-cuts

Please tell Osborne what you think of his plan to cut down the last safety net available to this country’s most vulnerable people.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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